No. 23 Rutgers women's lacrosse takes on No. 10 Maryland in semifinals of Big Ten Tournament
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team will travel to Columbus, Ohio, to face off against Maryland on Thursday. The Scarlet Knights (8-8, 1-5) will take on the Terrapins (13-5, 4-2) in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
Earlier this season, No. 23 Rutgers fell to No. 10 Maryland by a score of 16-8. In that match, graduate student attacker Marin Hartshorn netted 5 goals and provided one assist to combine for a team-leading 6 points. Senior defender Meghan Ball had a strong game on defense, as she caused five turnovers and won five draw controls.
Overall, the Knights have only defeated the Terrapins once in program history.
Maryland is a strong team on offense, as it averages the second-most goals per game in the Big Ten. Libby May has scored a team-leading 53 goals from 109 shots on goal. Eloise Clevenger is both a playmaker and goal scorer, as her 21 goals and 44 assists combine for a team-leading 65 points. The Terrapins are very well-rounded on offense and have six different players who have contributed more than 30 points this season.
Maryland is more vulnerable on defense as it ranks last in the Big Ten in ground balls per game and caused turnovers per game.
Emily Sterling will likely start in between the pipes for the Terrapins. She has started in 18 games, owns a .489 save percentage and allows opposing teams to score an average of 9.27 goals per game. Sterling is a strong goalkeeper and boasts the second-highest save percentage in the Big Ten.
A key for Rutgers will be to win draw controls to gain and retain possession over Maryland. The Terrapins are one of the best teams at winning the draw control, as Shaylan Ahearn averages a conference-leading 6.61 draw controls per game.
The Knights will also need to remain sharp on defense. Junior goalkeeper Sophia Cardello has had a strong season between the pipes, as she averages nine saves per game, the second-most in the Big Ten. Ball is one of the best defenders in the country, as she leads the nation in caused turnovers per game and leads the Big Ten in ground balls per game.
Rutgers must continue its positive performances on offense. Senior midfielder Cassidy Spilis, who has now scored the most goals in program history, will need to take advantage of her opportunities in front of the cage. Hartshorn and freshman attacker Ava Kane will need to help Spilis in creating and scoring goals for the Knights.
The game between Rutgers and Maryland will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday and will be played at the Ohio State Lacrosse Stadium. The game will also be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.
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